Bob Roberts is pastor of NorthWood Church. He is the author of Bold as Love: What Can Happen When We See People the Way God Does (Thomas Nelson, 2012).
In 2002 our church began working in Afghanistan in development projects. It led to us working with the local imams in cities and villages. There was a lot of apprehension but the relationships grew and we were able to do a lot of work. We began to connect pastors from the U.S. with imams in Afghanistan to do community projects and it really went over big.
From there numerous opportunities to speak about pastors and imams opened up from the World Islamic Forum put on by the Brookings Institute to various state departments and foreign ministries of governments globally. In a think tank a Muslim leader, part of a royal family of a particular nation asked “It’s great what’s being done here but what about back home where you are?” That started a process of thinking and evaluation. How would that be done? How would we connect with the imams? Would they want to be in a relationship?